News

Obama: Pakistan Review of Ties Should Respect US Security Needs

Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, left, and U.S. President Barack Obama smile during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, March 27, 2012.
Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, left, and U.S. President Barack Obama smile during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, March 27, 2012.

U.S. President Barack Obama says he hopes that Pakistan's review of its ties with the United States will be balanced and respect not only Pakistan's sovereignty but also U.S. security needs.

Mr. Obama spoke to reporters Tuesday shortly before holding private talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.  The two leaders met on the sidelines of an international nuclear summit in Seoul.

The meeting came amid a breakdown in relations between Pakistan and the United States following the U.S. military raid that killed Osama bin Laden in northern Pakistan last May and the mistaken killing of 24 Pakistani troops during a NATO strike last November along the Afghan border.

U.S.-Pakistani relations since November:

  • November - Immediately following the border strike, Pakistan shuts down NATO's two main Pakistani supply routes into Afghanistan and orders U.S. personnel to evacuate an air base.
  • December 24 - Media reports surface that the Central Intelligence Agency temporarily suspended drone strikes targeting low-ranking militants in Pakistan to mend relations.
  • January 23 - Pakistan's military rejects a U.S. claim that American forces acted in self-defense and with appropriate force after being fired upon by Pakistani forces months earlier.
  • January 31 - President Barack Obama confirms that the United States uses drone strikes against militants in Pakistan. The Pakistani government calls the strikes "unlawful, counterproductive and hence unacceptable" despite their "tactical advantages."
  • February 23 - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with her Pakistani counterpart and calls for a resumption of formal contacts with Pakistan after Islamabad finishes its review of relations with Washington.
  • March 1 - U.S. lawmaker introduces a non-binding resolution in the U.S. Congress calling for Baluchistan's secession, provoking a furious reaction from Pakistani politicians and media.

President Obama told Mr. Gilani "there have been times, I think we should be frank, in the last several months where those relations have experienced strains."   

Mr. Gilani said Islamabad is committed to fighting against extremism and terrorism and wants stability and security in Afghanistan.  He said "if there is a stability and peace in Afghanistan, there will be a stability and peace in Pakistan and the whole region."

The two leaders said they wanted to work together to achieve that goal.

The deadly strike that killed 24 Pakistani troops prompted Islamabad to shut its ground supply lines to NATO forces in Afghanistan and re-evaluate its ties with the United States.  

On Tuesday, thousands of Islamist party members took to the streets of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, demanding Pakistan not reopen its Afghan border to U.S. and NATO supplies.

A White House deputy national security advisor (Ben Rhodes) said Tuesday's meeting "made important progress in both sides being able to hear directly from one another about what their views are."

Pakistan's parliament adjourned Tuesday for a second consecutive day without debating the proposed terms of engagement with the U.S.. Opposition parties are unhappy with some of the review's recommendations.

Meanwhile, some of the parties allied with the ruling coalition say the government should instead focus on domestic issues, such as the ongoing violence in the city of Karachi, before debating foreign policy.

Local officials say at least eight people were killed in Karachi on Tuesday when violence erupted following the killing of a political activist and his brother.  Protesters also set fire to more than 35 vehicles in Pakistan's economic hub.  The victims were members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

Karachi has a long history of political, ethnic and sectarian violence.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mike
March 27, 2012 6:54 PM
As long as Obama's energy policy keeps the US dependent on foreign imported oil, we will be tied to the Pakistanis and their way of looking at the world. Their interests are not our interests but our "leadership" keeps saying that they are the same inspite of the Pakistanis saying and acting otherwise.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs